go to home page go to byland abbey pages go to fountains abbey pages go to kirkstall abbey pages go to rievaulx abbey pages go to roche abbey pages
The Cistercians in Yorkshire title graphic

The library at Rievaulx (continued)

Only 21 manuscripts from Rievaulx survive. Walter Daniel’s Centum Sententiae is now in the John Rylands Library, Manchester (Rylands Latin MS 196). Others are in the British Library and Jesus College, Cambridge. More..

The two hundred or so manuscripts that are listed in the library catalogue of Rievaulx cover a wide range of subjects, including history, grammar, logic, philosophy and medicine. These topics accounted for a small percentage of the total collection, and the vast majority of works were theological – in fact, about 85% of the library’s holdings; the library catalogue of Meaux Abbey suggests c. 81% of its books were concerned with theology.(3) The theological works in Rievaulx’s library included Bibles and psalters, authoritative writings by St Augustine and Bede; there were also works by renowned Cistercians, primarily Bernard of Clairvaux and Aelred of Rievaulx, but also by home-grown writers such as Matthew and Maurice of Rievaulx. The collection at Rievaulx seems fairly representative of a Cistercian monastic library at this time and is similar to the library at Meaux.(4) Comparison with Benedictine and Augustinian libraries, however, suggests that the Cistercian collection was less wide-ranging, more theology-based, and had fewer works on philosophy and science.(5)

The later Middle Ages
A sixteenth-century will of a former monk of Rievaulx, Richard Hall, mentions a number of books which may have belonged to the abbey before the dispersal of the community at the Dissolution. Richard, who served as curate of Lathom, left the vicar of Pocklington several books including the Speculum Morale Vincentii, a medieval dictionary (Ortus vocabularum), and Erasmus’ New Testament in Latin. A Robert Riche was to receive his New Testament in English, and John Brigham, a priest, was to have seven of his best books with the remainder shared between Christopher Hustler, parson of Elvington, and John Thompson, who was a priest of Wheldrake.(6)

Were these manuscripts produced at Rievaulx ? Read more
The Chrysologus manuscript
The Orosius manuscript
The Orosius manuscript

<back> <back to Cistercian Life>